By Jude Atupulazi
A frontline gubernatorial candidate on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in Anambra State, Mr Oseloka Obaze, has described the Supreme Court judgement that authenticated the chairmanship of Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi as the end of the internal squabbles in the party as well as a win win for the PDP. Obaze who spoke to the media moments after the Wednesday Judgement, saluted the courage of the judges in exhaustively addressing the matter, using the judicial process, and noted that the outcome and decision strengthened the country’s democracy. ‘The Supreme Court affirmation of Gov. Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi as the indisputable and authentic chairman of PDP, has put a definitive end to the internal squabbles that have adversely affected our dear and great party. We congratulate our chairman and his executive,’ Obaze said. He however noted that the moment and outcome did not call for celebration but for regrouping of the PDP family. ‘Our umbrella is large enough to accommodate us all. We must come together to serve our people and return Nigeria to its place as an inclusive nation,’ the former Secretary to the Anambra State Government stated.
…Insists on Serving a Single Tenure
A People’s Democratic Party, PDP, governorship hopeful in Anambra Stated, Mr Oseloka Obaze, says his insistence on serving a single tenure of four years is to maintain the prevailing understanding that has given his Northern Senatorial Zone a maximum of eight years in the seat of power.
Before the last governorship election in Anambra State, the major political parties had zoned the governorship slot to the North which had not produced a governor before then. That arrangement had produced the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano, whose first four year tenure is about coming to an end.
It is however expected by political pundits that Anambra North will serve out its full tenure of eight years of which four years have almost gone.
Speaking in his monthly media chat, the immediate past secretary to the Anambra State Government, SSG, said his resolve to serve only four years had to do with the prevailing political realities on the ground.
According to him, to ask for a full tenure of eight years would be to deviate from the prevailing understanding as doing so would cause some misunderstanding that was not needed.
On whether he could achieve much in four years if elected governor, Obaze said much could be accomplished in that period by a leadership that would not be distracted by the burden of seeking a second term.
‘Since governance is a continuum, you do what you can in four years and allow the successor administration to continue where you left off,’ Obaze stated.
Speaking further, he said though the country’s Constitution was clear on the tenure of elected officials, he remained open-minded about a single tenure for governors since it had its merits.
‘We have come to appreciate the related challenges and cost implications associated with seeking a second term. Perhaps a single tenure of five or six years will do. Even if there is to be a second term, it should not be consecutive,’ the former UN diplomat averred.
On the clamour by the Anambra South Zone to be allowed to complete the tenure of former Governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju who did only one tenure, Obaze said that although such an argument was understandable, it was however self-serving.
According to him, the people of the South should have fought to complete Mbadinuju’s tenure then as those from the North were currently fighting to complete Obiano’s tenure.
‘Whereas there is no statute of limitations for a governor to complete his second term, bringing it up now is aimed at negating the zoning understanding now in place,’ Obaze pointed out.
On the issue of the possibility of a consensus candidate in his party ahead of its primaries to avert the usual crisis that trailed such, Obaze said the party was a master of its own rules.
‘If the way to pick a candidate that will not be acrimonious is by rallying to a consensus, then so be it. It is essential, however, that finding a mutually acceptable solution does not trigger a crisis,’ he cautioned.
Mr. Obaze is the former Secretary to the State Government of Anambra State, Nigeria from 2012 to 2015 - MD & CEO, Oseloka H. Obaze. Mr. Obaze also served as a former United Nations official, from 1991-2012, and as a former member of the Nigerian Diplomatic Service, from 1982-1991.
Selonnes Consult Ltd. is a Strategic Policy, Good Governance and Management Consulting Firm, founded by Mr. Oseloka H. Obaze who served as Secretary to Anambra State Government from 2012-2015; a United Nations official from 1991-2012 and a Nigerian Foreign Service Officer from 1982-1991.